Trust your gut but lead with your heart: Sadhana Smiles

“I'm a big believer that you must bring all of yourself to the table ... your uniqueness is what adds value to the business...”

Sadhana Smiles was recently appointed to the role of CEO of Real Estate Industry Partners (REIP). Over the years, however, she has earned a reputation as a pillar of support for women and a champion of diversity in the real estate industry.

In this episode of the Leadership Diaries, Sadhana answers some tricky questions – whether leaders are born or made, what makes a leader worth looking up to and some of the moments in her career she is most proud of.

As podcast was recorded as Victoria was in the midst of locking down with its second wave of COVID-19, Sadhana also has some good tips for leading through turbulent times.

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In this episode Samantha and Sadhana also discuss:

  • The importance of culture to a business
  • Her community work – including idea behind walk a mile in their shoes, and Links Fiji
  • Why sometimes you just need to trust your gut, but lead with your heart
  • The morning routine that helps her win the day
  • Some of her personal mentoring lessons from NZ Rugby Coach Gilbert Enoka
  • The essential question in every job interview, and what potential recruits should be asking her
  • What leadership looks like at home and why it’s not too different from her leadership role in her business
  • Advice to women aspiring to leadership in and out of the industry
  • … plus much much more


Run into the chaos with Sadhana Smiles and Samantha McLean (Podcast swap)
Walk a mile
Links Fiji
Gilbert Enoka
A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard 
Indra Nooyi biography 
The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins
Sadhana Smiles podcast – Without Edges

Connect with Sadhana


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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.